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Policies of the University Library

This guide serves as a repository for the policies created by the library faculty and staff pertaining to the University Library (not the Law Library).

Copyright & Academic Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials

For faculty guidelines on using books, copies, & films for courses, please click here.

Some academic uses of copyrighted works are protected under "fair use" policy. See below for more details. 

Fair use is a limitation of copyright under Section 107 of the Copyright Law that allows the reproduction of copyrighted works for the purpose of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.

Regent University Library is committed to compliance with the laws of the United States governing copyright and fair use as well as the policies of Regent University as outlined in the Regent University Employee Handbook, Section III


Copyright Basics

What is copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works.

NOTE: The absence of a copyright notice does not imply that work is not copyrighted. Work is under copyright protection “the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device,” according to the U.S. Copyright Office FAQs.

What works are protected by copyright?

  • literary works
  • musical works, including both words and music
  • dramatic works, including accompanying music
  • pantomimes and choreographic works
  • pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
  • motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  • sound recordings
  • architectural works
  • computer programs

What constitutes copyright infringement?

Copyright infringement is the unauthorized use of any of the exclusive rights of the copyright holder. Infringement can occur when any of the following are violated: the right to reproduce the copyrighted work, the right to prepare derivative works, the right to distribute copies, and the right to perform the copyrighted work publicly.

How long does copyright last?

The Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act of 1998 extended copyright protection for an additional 20 years. This act grants the following protections:

Works Created During or After 1978:

  • Life of the author plus 70 years
  • For joint works, 70 years after the last surviving author’s death
  • For works made-for-hire, 95 years from the year of first publication or 120 years from the year of creation, whichever expires first.

Works Created But Not Published or Registered Before 1978:

  • Life of the author plus 70, but in no case earlier than Dec. 31, 2002.
  • If published before Dec. 31, 2002, the term will not expire before Dec. 31, 2047

For Pre-1978 Works Still in Their Original or Renewal Term, the term is extended to 95 years from the date copyright was originally secured.

What are the limitations (exceptions) to copyright?

Title 17 of the U.S. Code provides for certain rights to use copyrighted works, including the following:

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Fair Use

What is fair use?

Fair use is a limitation of copyright under Section 107 of the Copyright Law that allows the reproduction of copyrighted works for the purpose of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.

What determines fair use?

The factors contributing to fair use must be considered individually and then weighed against one another to determine fair use. When deciding whether the use of material qualifies for fair use, consider the following:

  • the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  • the nature of the copyrighted work;
  • the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  • the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. (Sec. 107)

Commercial use of work weighs against fair use. If the purpose of copying is for criticism, news reporting, comment, teaching, research, or scholarship, this weighs in favor of fair use. If access is limited to classroom or password-protected, it weighs toward fair use. The law does not give specific guidelines. The less that is copied, the heavier will be the weight given to fair use. If copying the work has an adverse effect on the market, this will weigh against fair use. If an original work could have been purchased, this will weigh against fair use.

Watch this short video introducing the concept of Fair Use.

What about photocopying & scanning?

A good general rule is to copy and distribute no more than 10% of a book, a journal article, or one chapter of a book. 

These are also the guidelines generally followed by our ILL/Document Delivery service, which can create PDFs of print books & articles within these limits for faculty and student use.


What about posting materials on Blackboard?

See photocopying guidelines above. 

The TEACH Act has expanded the scope of fair use for the performance and display of copyright-protected materials in a distance education environment, including Blackboard.


Instructors are strongly encouraged to use permalinks or hyperlinks to e-books or journal articles within library databases, which avoids copyright infringement. The best plan is to use Primo to get links.  You can also obtain permalinks in most databases.

Please ask a librarian for assistance in building persistent hyperlinks to online resources. 


What about using videos or movies in class?

Section 110 (1) of the Copyright Law enables teachers to perform or display a video or movie without a public performance license, so long as the use is 1) in a classroom or similar instruction space, 2) the use is part of a regularly scheduled course, and 3) the user must be exclusively by the instructor and the students in the classroom, in the course of face-to-face teaching activities.

If fair use criteria do not apply, how do I obtain permission to use copyrighted materials?

Permission to use copyrighted materials must be obtained if the criteria for fair use cannot be met. Permission must be obtained from the copyright holder.

The Copyright Office offers Circular 22: How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work to assist copyright research. The Copyright Clearance Center provides an extensive database and quick turnaround time for copyright permissions for photocopies, electronic postings, and republications.

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Public Performances

From the IUPUI Copyright Management Center:

Showing or “performing” a motion picture at the university can be important for teaching and other university activities. In many situations, it is also perfectly appropriate under copyright law, but not all “public performances” are lawful. The law of copyright attempts to balance the interests of the public with the interests of authors in their creative works. The law gives copyright owners several exclusive rights, including the exclusive right to give public performances of their copyrighted works, but the law also permits some performances of these works by others, as summarized below. These principles are generally true, whether the work is a feature film, an educational video, downloaded from the web, recorded off-air, or stored on VHS or DVD. Read more...

Two companies that offer copyright viewing licenses to universities are Criterion Pictures USA (1.800.890.9494) and Swank Motion Pictures (1.800.876.5577).

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Copyright Policies

Regent University Library Policies

Regent University Policies

“Academic freedom at Regent University is framed by the context of the university’s mission statement and statement of faith and is consistent with the standards and norms stated in the academic freedom policy. Faculty are free to pursue truth within their discipline by research, discussion, and other forms of inquiry. This freedom carries a responsibility to truth, to scholarly integrity, and to one’s students.”

Regent University Faculty and Academic Policy Handbook

Regent University Employee Handbook, Section III

Other Copyright Resources

Copyright Policy in PDF